Florida Bar Says Attorneys May Solicit Business By Text Messages

Monday, September 21, 2015
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

You've just been slapped with an indictment containing allegations of anti-fraud law violations.  Or your license is up for renewal and you are struggling through all of the red tape.  You are facing a DOH hearing or an audit.  You have an employment contract in-hand and are in need of someone to review it.  Then, all of a sudden, you receive a text message from an attorney offering to help you.

The legal world is a tough one to maneuver when you do not know your rights.  But where do you turn for help?  According to The Florida Bar's board of governors, as of July 2015, it may very well be your cell phone. 


Prohibitions on Solicitation.


The Florida Bar prohibits attorneys from soliciting business in-person or by telephone.  The reason behind the prohibition is to prevent:

    (a)    undue influence;

    (b)    intimidation; and

    (c)    overreaching--per the American Bar Association.

However, the decision reached by the Bar distinguishes text messaging from traditional telephone communications, comparing text messages to e-mails, which are allowed for solicitations.  

Florida Bar President, Ramon Abadin, states, "It's an adaptation to reality...  [The change is a] part of the national dialogue.  It's what we should be doing as professionals.  We should be looking at how best to serve our clients.  What are the ways they want to be communicated with...?"


Text Messages Are Not Without Restrictions.

Attorneys are still bound by restrictions on the content of the solicitous text messages.  Each text is required to contain the following:

(1)    the word "advertisement" at the start of the text;
 
(2)    a statement of the lawyer's qualifications;
 
(3)    how the recipient's information was obtained; and
(4)    an instruction to disregard the text message if a recipient has already obtained representation.  

For more on The Florida Bar's decision, click here.


Comments?

How do you feel about attorneys sending text messages to your phone to solicit business?  Would you find it helpful?  Why or why not?


Contact an Experienced Health Care Attorney.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other health care providers and institutions in investigations and defending alleged HIPAA and FIPA complaints and violations and in advising on data breaches.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Sources:

Silvestrini, Elaine.  "Florida Bar Gives OK to Attorneys to Solicit Business Using Text Messages."  Tampa Tribune, 10 Sept. 2015: B3.  Print.


About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.


Keywords:  Health defense attorney, health care fraud attorney, health attorney, defense attorney, The Health Law Firm, health law firm, fraud investigations, The Florida Bar, DOH defense attorney, DEA hearing attorney, Board certification attorney, employment contract dispute attorney, health care lawyer, recovery audit contractor attorney, informal dispute resolution, arbitration, physician attorney, attorney solicitations by text message, finding a defense attorney, finding a health attorney, legal representation for physicians, legal representation for health care professional, The Health Law Firm reviews


“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 1996-2015 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.
9/21/2015

Like this blog? Add your public comments:

Items in bold indicate required information.